Alignment, close to the heart.

Drawings, Writing
my one word for 2016, #suedle style.

my one word for 2016, #suedle style.


This past year was full of moments of joy, both the planned and the unexpected. When I look back on this year, I realize I had lots of big dreams. Dreaming is my way of finding joy.

When I reflected on my year of joy in search for a new word for 2016, I thought I would do something similar to other reflective posts – link back to a bunch of joyful moments of 2015. I have to admit I hesitated to do this & ultimately decided against it. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important to share the ‘happy times.’ I very much do, particularly lately when it seems our world isn’t so joyful.

It’s just that…Well, more than I want to share these moments, I want to hold onto them. I want to keep them in a private space, somewhere close to my heart, near my soul. I want to be selfish.  I want them to be mine. Some moments are not meant to be shared with my whatever-something followers. I’d rather call the few people I would share it with if we were all standing in the same room. Somehow, its more meaningful that way.


This may sound weird. I guess it is a little weird, considering I’m sharing this on a blog. But, 2015 really taught me a ton about private moments of joy and how I am in so in love with them. I want more of that.

I think I realized this in April when Dan asked me to marry him. (See? If you just followed me here, you probably had no idea this even happened! Don’t worry, I had no idea it was happening either.) At first, it was pure torture for the both of us not to hop online, update ALL the statuses and tell the world that we would be going on foodventures together for the rest of our lives. However, something pretty cool happened by not sharing right away – I recognized I LOVED not posting about it. Those few days where nothing was online about our newfound relationship status were total bliss. It was like our (and our families & close friends) little secret. I held it close to my heart, just like I wanted.

There were a few other moments over 2015 where I had moments like this. And that brings us to today. My ‘one words’ over the past few years have focused on action & experience. Finish. Do. Joy. During those years, I had listed out some pretty specific goals to go along with each one. I think somewhere in my mind I thought, Oh easy, I’ll pick a word, I’ll do these few things and I’ll feel great! Piece of cake.

But I’ve discovered, for me, that doesn’t really work. (I cannot believe it took me three years to realize that.) My ‘one word’ has to be more like a theme for it to be effective. A mantra, of sorts. ‘Joy’ was great for that – in obvious moments of joy, but also in moments that were complete shit too. It brought me back around, shifted my focus to turn and look at the good.

Les Brown quote

This year, I want to purposefully find the things that are close to my heart. I want to align myself with ‘those’ people. I want to be a bit more selfish. Development, whether personal or professional, has always been something I value. I want to find & invest in things that make me better, in people that strengthen me. This year, I’m working to align the things I want to do with who I am and who I want to be. I have a few ideas of what this might look like (more reading, more drawing, more walking and a suedle rebrand!) and what it might not look like. I definitely know that for now, I’ll be taking a step away from some social media platforms to have time to do other things.

I think the best part about ‘align’ is that those things could change. I think one of my favorite podcasters, Jess Lively, puts it best. She consistently says, ‘this thing might not serve me in this space I am right now. But, it could serve me if things change in the future.’ I dig the flexible, self aware nature of that statement. It aligns with what I’m trying to do.

So, for now, bye bye Twitter & Facebook. And hello to new drawings on Instagram and pictures of my cat on Snapchat. If you want to say hello, you can comment here, find me there or my personal favorite – we can chat offline! Preferably over a caffeinated beverage.

Or you can head over here to hear more about suedles and the update taking place soon. 

Thanks for hearing me out and I hope to see a few of you along the journey.



#suedles at #ACPA15!


Once a while, opportunities come along that simply blow my mind. I’m excited to announce that #suedles will once again appear at the annual ACPA Convention in two ways! 

Picture this: You’re walking out of a session, chock full of new ideas and questions. You turn the corner and on a table you see a brightly colored card. “What’s that?,” you wonder. You wander over and see a familiar color scheme and the words, “Consider this.” So, you do just that. 

I’m incredibly excited to be the designer behind ACPA’s Engagement Cards, which you can find scattered throughout the convention. (Special thanks to Joe Ginese for coming up with this idea and ACPA’s leadership for allowing me to be a part of it!)

I also am incredibly thrilled that once again I will create graphic recordings of the ACPA opening and closing speakers. The finished products will be signed by the speakers and then auctioned off at the ACPA Marketplace, with the proceeds going to scholarships. Come visit the Marketplace on Friday to see the finished #suedles from the opening ceremony! 

I’m incredibly grateful and thrilled to share visual language with the student affairs community. I look forward to connecting with you during sessions, Pecha Kucha Talks and on the #ACPA15 backchannel! 

The Joy of Presence.


A few weeks ago, one of my favorite podcasts, Invisible Office Hours, returned for it’s second season. IOH is hosted by two creative entrepreneurs, Paul Jarvis and Jason Zook. Though I first ‘met’ this dynamic duo after reading their blogs and books, I have a greater appreciation for Paul and Jason after fangirling over their podcast.

On Tuesday, I set an appointment on my calendar so I wouldn’t miss their opening segment. Not only was I excited for the second season, but I wondered what the first episode would be about. I was somewhat surprised when the conversation started about social media.

Paul and Jason went onto to talk for a little over an hour about social media usage and how it could be addicting. As I pondered this, I (ironically) took to Twitter with my thoughts:

I would not put my social media addiction on the same level as my caffeine or Sharpie addiction…but I would say it’s pretty damn close. Mostly, my addiction has be beneficial. I’ve reaped the benefits of new relationships, some professional development opportunities and business opportunities. I’ve looked at it as another medium to express myself, to share topics I care about and start discussions.

But lately, I have been straying from my usual usage. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why until Paul and Jason talked about a “social media sabbatical.” Sounds kind of funny, doesn’t it? But the more my earbuds filled with stories of theirs, the more I kind of yearned for one myself. It seems it’s not enough to have notifications disabled on my devices.

I need a hard reset. I need a creative shove to feel the joy in being present again.

When I told my coworker I was doing this, he said “you won’t be able to make it.” Maybe he’s right, but I feel like it’s certainly worth a try.


After my #NACA15 presentation, you won’t hear (or read?) anything from me for the next few days/week. I am planning on doing a lot of reading, lots of suedling and a whole lotta being.

So long for now!



(Shameless plug: If you read, write or breathe, you will probably love Invisible Office Hours. Check out some of their episodes here.)

Choosing Joy. (Sharing my #oneword2015)


2014 was the year of ‘do’ for me.


Take on the responsibility.

Start the book.

Create the eSeries.

Open the Etsy shop.

Go to the conference.

Make the appointment.

Go to the interview.

Act on a conference committee.

Commit to the year after.

Submit the proposal.

Go to the yoga class.


Read the book(s).

Pick up the phone.

Say goodbye.






I am a woman who hesitates. Sometimes, I like to think things through. Sometimes, it just doesn’t feel right. Sometimes, I just can’t find the time. And sometimes, I need a nap.


I learned a few things, both good and bad, by focusing on doing this year. My biggest takeaway? I can’t do it all. Sometimes when I do it all, I am a real cranky individual. I am not my best, I don’t produce great work, and I am a real bitch to the people I love the most.

But when I am careful about what I do choose to do? I freaking ROCK that shit. I go all in, all Sue, all the time. When I focus, I create and complete projects in all areas of my life. (Major testament to this: holiday sales on my Etsy shop! I was focused and pulled it off. I laid out a timeline for myself and didn’t over promise or extend. Win!)


This year, I’m switching it up with my #oneword2015. I’ve focused on finishing and doing in the past two years.


This year, it’s joy.


Being a woman who hesitates, I also tend to over think things. I can let my emotions get in the way of being in the moment, recognizing the good times and being grateful for them. I burrow, not giving myself the opportunities to feel joy.


This year, I’d like to focus on the joyful moments that we can overlook everyday. To help, I’m increasing my suedle-ing to at least one sketch a day, using my 365 Sketchbook. I’m also making a Joy Jar to capture joyful moments throughout the year. Last but not least, I’m going to use a daily practice I developed as a Healer’s Art faculty member this year – a mental journal. At the end of each day, I will quietly ask myself, “What brought you joy today?” This could be fulfilling a long term goal, dreaming up a new one or finishing a good book. Recognizing joy, in all shapes and sizes, is a skill I hope to hone in the new year.

Cheers to a joyful 2015!

Celebrating an Etsy-versary.


Time is a really funny thing. At times it drips as slow as molasses and other times it’s a tornado. Yesterday, I experienced the latter after opening an email from Etsy.

Subject: Renew your listings.

Message: Eight of your listings are expiring soon. Renew them now to keep them in your shop.

I’m celebrating my four month Etsy-versary!

Being a shop owner has taught me a few things about running a small business over the past few months. Here’s my top four lessons over the last four months:

Taking action definitely pays off.

Opening the Etsy shop was an idea that I toyed around with for a few weeks. I was terrified when I pressed that ‘open shop’ button. The little wave of doubt still rears it’s head when I list new items. But when it comes down to it, I’m glad I battled hesitation and won. This year has been the year of doing in so many ways. Opening this shop has taught me to climb out of my own head and just go for it already!

Small businesses are anything but small.

Refunds, shipping profiles, custom requests, oh my! I will forever have a new appreciation for the inner workings of entrepreneurial enterprises, large or small. Being a shop owner has not only given me a greater appreciation for the finer details, but it has taught me that giving them attention can really pay off.

Don’t sell yourself short…literally.

It’s no secret that I struggle with putting a price on my work. I found it awkwardly frustrating to actually ask for compensation when #suedles are a part of who I am. This shop in conjunction with some supportive peers helped me realize that is a reason in itself! There is no shame in providing a product and putting a price on it. And when you have a personal connection to the product? Even better.

Take the criticism and then take the credit.

As in all new adventures, there were many “teachable moments” during this whole process. Luckily, many of my first customers were folks that gave me feedback on how the shop could improve. The amateur and the artist in me will forever appreciate this. Understanding the criticisms and continually working through them made is easier for me to take the credit when it’s available.

I hope to share more with you as the shop hits it’s next milestone. But for now? Some celebrations!

If you haven’t check out the shop lately, head on over – there’s new items up for sale! 

To thank you for your support (and reading this far), here’s a coupon code for 15% off any purchase over $5 from now through Sunday! Just visit my shop and use the code “etsyversary” at checkout. 

If you want #suedles to brighten your day on a regular basis, you can now follow them on Instagram. Regular shop updates, pictures of their production and sneak peaks at future discounts will be available by following the account.


And last but not least, thank you – for your support, your feedback, your purchases and just all around making this a great experience. Lookin’ forward to the future! 

Committed: the conversation.

Drawings, Multimedia
Suedled during the podcast - it's Kristen's Empathy Cap!

Suedled during the podcast – it’s Kristen’s Empathy Cap!

i am not quite sure how this happened, but May is more than halfway over. (?!)

we are also more than halfway through the Committed Series. the series has sparked conversation, comments and all sorts of thoughts. Kristen Abell and i have been looking for a way to discuss some of these thoughts and we figured, why not sit down and talk about the series? that’s how this whole thing started anyway!


So for your listening pleasure – Our conversation on the Committed Series.

Feel free to comment or connect with us to discuss more.  Thanks for the support!




suedles on stage.

Drawings, Multimedia, Writing

this Saturday marks many firsts for me.


it will be my first time traveling to Indianapolis.

ACPA will be my first national conference.

and (drumroll) it’s the first time #suedles will be on a national stage.


nervous excitement at its best!

nervous excitement at its best!


i’m excited to announce that  i will be sue-dlinglive

for the opening & closing sessions (and more!) at the ACPA National Convention


bringing visual language to our field can help ‘reinvent’ how we communicate with each other, process information and encourage this kind of expression in our home institutions. i’m pumped to be involved in such a unique way and grateful to those who helped make this happen.


if you are attending the conference be sure to say hi. oh, and keep your eyes peeled during the rest of the conference. you never know where you will find a suedle… 🙂


follow the backchannel using the #ACPA14 and #suedle from March 26th – April 2nd for conference fun and illustrations galore! 

finding the batman to your robin.

Drawings, Writing
the dynamic duo.

the dynamic duo.

there have definitely been moments this past week where i have felt like part of a dynamic duo.

if you haven’t heard yet, my partner in crime Amma Marfo released her first eBook, which i had the pleasure of illustrating. this was such a surreal experience in itself, but i am SO incredibly proud of her (and us) for getting it done. in true introvert fashion, the amount of attention the book received left me craving for some time to reflect. so i did what any person would do – watched a documentary about one of my favorite childhood shows – ‘Holy Batmania!,’ featuring Adam West as Batman and more tacky pows and bamfs than you could ever want to see.

different people can push you towards your goals in very different ways. i have found that there is nothing more motivating than a partnership – someone who shares your goal (or a version of it) and someone who is in the trenches with you. the recent collaboration with Amma was refreshing; it felt like finding the Batman to my Robin. here’s a few reasons why having a partner is uniquely motivating.

it’s someone to be drafty with.

i’ve written before about how showing your drafts can leave you feeling very exposed. in the right situation with the right partner, being drafty often encourages growth. this growth can happen rapidly and deeply, in a very organic state. in Steven Johnson’s book, “Where Good Ideas Come From“, he talks about slow hunches. slow hunches are ideas that are ‘half-baked’ and develop from a series of connections over time. a partnership is one way to enhance your slow hunches by sharing them. Batman didn’t sit there and twiddle his thumbs when he was pondering the Joker’s next move. he talked to Robin about his hunches.

share your tissues and your pom-poms.

when Amma approached me about illustrating her book, i was quite excited. i soon realized ‘much to be done’ was an understatement. during a collaboration, prepare yourself with two things: tissues and pom-poms. many would expect the latter; it’s exciting to work closely with someone, celebrate the wins and see the end result. but the tissues are just as important – for the frustrating times, the times of doubt and to wipe up some sweat from working so hard! keep both in your utility belt. your partner will appreciate it whilst scaling the side of a building.

showing your diversity. 
personally, i prefered Robin’s colorful attire as opposed to the muted Batman garbs. but, you have to appreciate Batman’s calculated way of devising a plan and serious driving skills. in many ways, this dynamic duo displays why diversity is key in partnerships. Batman and Robin both have different ways of handling situations. this can be a struggle and a benefit of teamwork. partnerships can work the same way. experiencing this first hand as an illustrator to an author have given me a greater sense of appreciation for my strengths and the will to work on my weaknesses. not only is Robin better under the guidance of Batman; they are a better team because of one another.

what do you love about partnerships? who are you collaborating with? how has it helped you grow?

find what speaks to you: lessons learned in @Pier1.

Collage, Drawings, Writing

inspired by my #oneword2014, i recently committed to a new challenge: read 52 books in 52 weeks (otherwise known as #52in52.) in true sue form, i tweeted this earlier in the week:


despite new-challenge-excitement-jitters, i hit a bump in the road in the form of my first book, Bursts: The Hidden Patterns Behind Everything We Do. i started this book a few months ago, read about eighty pages and stopped. something just wasn’t grabbing my attention and i was struggling to power through. i was puzzled as to why i was having such a hard time doing something that i enjoyed spending time doing.


i figured out the answer over the holiday break. i ventured into Pier 1 Imports to partake in my normal after Christmas sales when i spotted one of the characters from their commercials. my mind immediately played their catchy jingle:

find what speaks to you.

i had an ah-ha moment. finding things that speak to me often lead to moments of reflection, revelation and most importantly, production. as Tim refers to in his post, it’s not the quotes or the catchy jingles. it’s beyond that. the book i attempted to read wasn’t inspiring to me at the time. overwhelmed with other projects, my focus was elsewhere. i was just looking to read the book because, honestly…i thought i should.

i restarted and finished the book in the first few days of the year…because i wanted to do it.

projects, relationships, jobs, life – they may not be inspiring every minute of every day. however, the importance of why you are taking action is. find your why – your real why – and your inspiration will follow.

relax, just DO it.



a few days ago, Mallory Bower wrote a post entitled “It’s the things you DO that make you good.” before you continue on, you may want to head over to Mallory’s corner of the interwebz and read up. (it’s okay, i’ll wait right here while she rocks your world.)

being that i just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s OutliersMallory’s post really hit home. up until this, i was caught between two ideas for my #oneword2014. i hesitated writing this post…and then quickly realized that said more about which one i should chose than anything else!

my #oneword2014 is DO.

so often action is halted by intricate thoughts and the mulling over of options. thoughtful reflection is very different from a shameful delay. it bugs me and causes anxiety, especially when it puts a damper on creativity.

so 2014 will be the year for less shame, and more do.

answer the call,

sketch the thought, 

write the post,

paint the picture,

draw the #suedle,  

present the idea,

run the race,

practice the lesson, 

read the book,

have the conversation,

submit the application,

just do it already.

are you participating in #oneword365? what’s your one word for 2014?